What to Do If You Are Having a Lonely Birthday
Are you facing being alone on your birthday because of your social anxiety? Just because you will be alone, that does not mean that you have to be lonely.
While it’s best to work on overcoming your social anxiety, in the meantime, here are some ideas of ways you can get through your birthday alone (and feel okay about it).
Sometimes the best way to feel less lonely is to become so involved in a project that you completely forget about what was wrong. Ideas on creative activities include cooking/baking, building something (like a decor item or furniture), writing in a journal or doing creative writing, and doing art therapy projects.
Ahh, what could be better than escaping into a good movie or TV series? I tend to watch the same movies over and over (so if you’ve got any good suggestions for me, feel free to leave them in the comments!). But, I also like getting hooked on one series, because it gives you something to look forward to.
Whether you actually go to the theater to see a show (and push your comfort zone), rent a movie, watch Netflix, or watch on Amazon Prime (I love their selection!), try to choose something lighthearted that will give you a mental boost.
Plan a DIY Mental Health Retreat
What’s a DIY mental health retreat? Essentially, you block off an entire weekend (Friday to Sunday) and put together an agenda of activities for yourself, similar to what you would experience if you went to an in-person mental health retreat.
In fact, I think this could be the perfect way to treat yourself if you’re alone or feeling lonely on your birthday. Choose the weekend closest to the day of your birthday, and use the retreat planner I provide to create a customized retreat filled with all the activities and tools you need to replenish yourself.
Buy Yourself a Gift
Rather than hope that you will receive gifts from others, make your birthday the one day of the year when you treat yourself to something that you’ve been putting off. Something that benefits your mental health as well would be a good choice.
For example, you could purchase a piece of anxiety jewelry, or sign up for a subscription service through Cratejoy. You don’t need to sign up for a monthly service if that’s not in your budget. Simply sign up to receive a special gift on your birthday. My favorite Cratejoy subscription is the Therabox, because it is curated by therapists and includes all the things to support your mental health.
Exercise is known to alleviate a low mood; if feeling lonely on your birthday is also making you fee depressed, getting outside and moving could be the answer. You could go for a hike somewhere that you’ve never been before and appreciate the chance to be in nature.
Alternatively, other options might include signing up for a yoga class, going to the gym (or joining a gym if you haven’t already), doing an online exercise class, doing some laughter yoga, or committing to completely changing your physical fitness by your next birthday.
Think this is impossible for you? You might be inspired by the story of Instagram influencer Joan MacDonald. At 70+ years of age and weighing nearly 200 pounds (and being totally out of shape), an overweight Joan embarked on a path to completely transform her body and her life.
Escape Your Comfort Zone
One of the best ways to get through social anxiety is to gradually face the things that cause you fear. Is there something you’d really like to do, but you feel like you can’t or that your social anxiety is holding you back? Today might be the day you go out and do it.
This might mean going to eat in a restaurant alone, getting a tatto, or signing up for a workshop on how to make birdhouses—only you know what lights you up and fires you up. Be sure to pick something that makes you feel a bit anxious but also a lot excited. Then channel that excitement to the point that it becomes more important than the anxiety.
(Watch the video below for some fun ideas on how to spend your birthday alone)
Read a Book
If you prefer to have a calm birthday at home, get your reading list ready and dive in. Whether you visit the local library, a bookstore, or choose to use an online service like Kindle Unlimited, Scribd, or Amazon’s Audible, try to choose at least one fiction and one non-fiction book. This will give you a good balance between escape and self-help.
My personal favorite among the subscription services is Scribd, because you have unlimited access. If you don’t particularly like a book you started, you can just abandon it and move on to something else (which I tend to do often).
Practice Guided Meditation
Looking to chill out and feel more zen on your birthday? I love guided meditations as a way to calm the mind, feel like you’ve escaped for a bit, and get answers to deep quesitons you’ve been struggling with. It’s easy enough to find pretty much any type of guided meditation you could want on Youtube.
Learn About EFT
EFT stands for the Emotional Freedom Technique, and it’s a practice similar to accupressure that has gained popularity in the treatment of some mental health disorders. I’ve written more about EFT in this post as well as shared the person who I think is best to follow for EFT guidance on social anxiety.
Need a little brightening up on your birthday? In this post about gratitude I share with you a sunburst gratitude worksheet that you can complete over the course of a month, but you could easily adapt this to be a birthday activity.
Simply fill out each ray of the sun on the worksheet with something you are grateful for that day. Remember—happiness generally needs to come from within. If you rely solely on outside factors to bring you happineess, then your happiness level will go up and down like stock market in the middle of a national crisis.
If you are feeling lonely, sometimes the best antidote is to actually reach out to other people. I know this can feel hard if you have social anxiety, but I promise you that if you take baby steps it will get easier. Just send a text, email, or Facebook message to someone whom you know might need a cheerful note.
I hope that I’ve given you some ideas to get you started thinking about how to make your birthday less lonely!
Whether you get creative, escape, plan a DIY mental health retreat, buy yourself a gift, exercise, escape your comfort zone, read book, practice guided meditation, learn about EFT, practice gratitude, or reach out, I hope you’ll realize that there many ways to spend a birthday alone without feeling lonely.